Peter Pan or Tigger? What children's story character are you?

Opinion Peter Chadha Jan 25, 2013

This month, Peter Chadha wonders whether a storybook approach is best when it comes to managing a change to cloud

Regular CloudPro readers will, by now, have received the message loud and clear that a transition from ‘traditional’ to cloud IT not only requires a change of infrastructure, but also a change in mindset.

In my opinion, managing the wider cultural change of an organisation – regardless of size - in embracing a cloud environment is crucial. It’s as least as important – and probably more important - than implementing the technological changes. Cloud IT requires a different way of working and, to gain the greatest benefits, needs the organisation to support a more open and collaborative culture.

From a technological perspective, moving to a cloud-based infrastructure is relatively easy, and becoming easier all the time,  providing legacy systems do not create too many barriers. However, culture change is often much harder to achieve and requires an understanding of the types of individuals working within the organisation that can either help, or hinder, the process.

Some children’s characters that bear an uncanny resemblance to some key members in an organisation when it comes to implementing change

I sometimes find that referring back to my kids’ storybooks can be really helpful.  No, I don’t mean hoping that a fairy godmother will magically appear in a puff of smoke (or should that be a cloud?), wave a magic wand and the culture will change.  But there are some children’s characters that bear an uncanny resemblance to some of the key members in an organisation when it comes to implementing change.

Tiggers: Bouncy, enthusiastic, thoroughly engaging and fun to be around, they’re always a  great advocate for cloud IT and for championing projects. However, Tiggers also have a habit of bouncing people into things before they’re quite ready and then disappearing off to enthuse about something else, leaving others to implement the project.  I have experienced a number of board directors like this, who have become Tiggers after discovering the latest cloud technology via their smartphones.  

Eeyores: The antithesis of Tiggers.  These are the individuals who are reluctant to change and continually talk about “the old days” being better, even if it is the IT equivalent of eating thistles.  Eeyores are the hardest to move and require them most support through the change process until they encounter an “aha moment” when it all fits into place.

Peter Pans: The constant dreamers.  Readers of technical journals that have de-risked today’s technology and are already looking to the future at the kind of technology that everyone’s writing about but won’t be a practical reality for another five – or more - years.  Peter Pans are very strong allies to support a cloud strategy, particularly for Tiggers, but not to implement it!

Badgers: The strategists and advisors.  Wise, practical and tough negotiators who know how competitors and suppliers operate, badgers are usually good counsellors who can offer balanced advice and will have analysed risk and outcomes before entering the fray.  They can also have a starring role as IT security advisors and are not afraid to wield ‘the big stick’ if necessary.

Toads: Always ready to adopt the latest trend,they boast they know it all and want cloud projects to revolve around them. In reality, they’re confidence far exceeds their expertise and frequently have to be bailed out by wiser members of the team.

Mary Poppinses: The ‘doers’ of the team.  They’re practical, no-nonsense, organised implementers who are equally at home educating the organisation’s senior members as they are supporting junior members of staff.  They may not have the strategic or technical know-how, but they can be relied on to get the job done once the strategy is agreed. And of course, they’ll always be on hand with a spoonful of incentivised sugar to help the medicine of change go down.

Peter Chadha

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Peter Chadha, is managing director of DrPete Ltd, an independent strategic technology adviser. Peter has been identified by IBM as one of the top 50 IT commentators in the UK, and is a regular commentator on TV and in the press.

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